Gareth Johnson
MP for Dartford


Reporting back from Dartford and Westminster - now reaching over 5,000 people in the local area


10th December 2020

Deportation of foreign criminals

During an urgent question in the House of Commons, I called on the Government to review any law which prevents the deportation of foreign criminals. This followed the legal challenge to the scheduled deportation of Jamaican nationals by charter plane to Jamaica.  The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Chris Philp, said the flight was specifically to remove foreign criminals whose offences included sexual assault against children, murder, rape, drug dealing and violent crime.

To watch my contribution and the Minister's response, please click on the video above.


Pfizer vaccine

I am delighted the Government has accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for distribution across the United Kingdom. The UK is the first country in the world to deliver an approved vaccine. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the scientists who have worked tirelessly to deliver a vaccine in nine months, something that normally takes a similar number of years.  We are finally in a position to begin to protect our most vulnerable people, who are the first in the world to receive an approved vaccine.

Whilst we have reason to be optimistic that we have a vaccine, we must not underestimate the challenges that lie ahead. The Pfizer vaccine presents unique issues in relation to how it needs to be stored and at present, it cannot be broken down into batches smaller than 975 individual doses. This is, however, a rapidly changing situation and there have been reports that a way may have been found to do this.  

Priority for who receives this vaccine first is determined by The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This committee is made up of academics and medical experts and it is right the Government relies on the advice given by experts.  The JCVI has advised that the priority for the first stage of vaccinations includes residents in care homes and their carers, those over 80 years of age and health and social care workers, followed by those at greater risk by reason of age or underlying health conditions. It is estimated that the first stage of vaccinations based on age and underlying health conditions represents around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.

I recognise there are people in many occupations who are unable to work from home. We owe key workers a huge debt of gratitude for the work they have done throughout the pandemic but it is right that we prioritise those who are most vulnerable to death or serious illness from COVID-19 for the first phase of vaccination.  Nine primary care services around Kent will start vaccinating next week and people will be called to receive their vaccination.

I welcome the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care's announcement that vaccination clinics will open 7 days a week, in addition to an extra £150m for GPs to support this work. These measures will help to enable a mass rollout of the vaccination at the earliest possible time.

If you would like to hear more from Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the MHRA, please click on the photo above to play the video.



Kent Covid-19 overview (up until 4th December)



Policing Survey

Matthew Scott, Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner is asking people to complete the Annual Policing Survey (link below).  This consultation is really important because it will help determine the priorities for Kent Police. 

The closing date for responses is 5th January 2021.



Road Safety Dashboard

The Constituency Road Safety Dashboard was launched recently and shows the location and summary details of all casualties in every constituency. To access it, please click on the link below (need to run in Google Chrome.)



Tier 3

I was disappointed that Kent was placed into Tier 3 and will face the highest level of restrictions but based on the information we have I can understand why the difficult decision was made. In Tier 3, retail can now reopen. 

The priority now must be to reduce the rates of infection so we can see restrictions lifted as quickly as possible.  



Christmas at Royal Mail in Dartford

Usually at this time of year, I am invited to visit my local delivery office in Dartford and in the past this has given me an opportunity to say thank you to all the local posties for their hard work throughout the year.  

Regrettably, this is not possible this year and I would therefore like to take the opportunity in this bulletin to thank all our local Royal Mail staff for their hard work.  They have continued working throughout the pandemic and in the period April-August they have delivered 177 million more parcels, an increase of 34%.  With the additional pressure of Christmas cards and presents, they are preparing for a very busy time.



Stanhill Farm

Each month I like to feature a local business, large or small and this month’s is Stanhill Farm which is located on Birchwood Road in Wilmington.

I have featured Stanhill Farm before, which is made up of 150 acres.  It is managed by brothers Toby and Max Williams who took it over in 2004, opening their Farm Shop on site in October 2009.  It stocks a wide range of fresh produce, much of which is harvested by hand and then put straight onto the shelves.  The farm grows up to 30 different crops a year. 
Stanhill Farm Shop has gone from strength-to-strength and has adapted to the pandemic by introducing a click and collect service on the website.  This service offers a larger range of products than you would normally find in the Farm Shop, including bread from a local bakery in Swanley and cakes supplied by Ruby’s Bakery in Sussex, along with cheese from Cheeseworks and a delicatessen range from a family run wholesaler, Curd & Cure.  Dry Cure Bacon can also be ordered for click and collect and is supplied by Glover’s Quality Meats in Hartley.  There is a large range of pantry items also including, biscuits, crisps, flour, pasta and cereals.
There is no contact with staff as on arrival customers give their order number and surname and the order is placed straight into their car boot.
For customers who prefer to visit the Farm Shop, Covid-safe measures are in place including social distancing, sanitiser, face coverings and a limit on the number of customers in the shop at a time.  Shopping baskets are sanitised after each use and card payments are preferred.
If you would like to check out the click and collect service or find out about Stanhill Farm, please click on the link below.



Change of number: Single Point of Access - 0800 783 9111 
Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has asked me to share its new Single Point of Access telephone number which has been in place from 1st December 2020. This new Freephone number is for anyone who needs urgent mental health support, advice and guidance. 
This Freephone number replaces the 0300 telephone number which can still be used but callers may be charged if calling from a mobile telephone number. 
The crisis and community contact details remain the same and can be found on the website. 
Telephone calls will be recorded when using the Single Point of Access service. Please view the Privacy notice on KMPT's website for more information. 



In response to the current phase of the pandemic, Southeastern introduced a new timetable on 16th November, which has around 80% of services operating.  This reflects reduced passenger demand and the need for some of their frontline staff to follow personal NHS advice and self-isolate.  

As part of Southeastern's Safer Travel Pledge they have invested some £400,000 in extra cleaning to ensure a safe and hygienic environment for passengers and staff.  The enhanced cleaning regime includes sanitising every train carriage each night when anti-viral treatments are applied to high touch areas such as toilets, handles and buttons, as well as in the driving cabs.

To check the effectiveness of these measures, Southeastern undertook trial coronavirus swab testing in August.  Swabs were carried out at high touch points at five key commuter stations and all the results came back from the lab having tested negative for Covid-19.


Happy Christmas!

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and let's look forward to a new year in which we can hopefully all get back to normal.  

Dartford has responded magnificently to the enormous challenges it has faced as a community this year.  We have seen the very best of human nature at this time with so many people doing their utmost to help those who were shielding, unwell or vulnerable. In different ways we have all been affected by this virus.  It has prevented people meeting up with loved ones, it has hit many people financially and sadly, many Dartfordians have died as a consequence of catching Covid-19,  There is now genuine hope on the horizon in the form of the vaccines that are now rolling out across the county so there is good reason to feel far more optimistic for the future.  

Click on the photo above if you would like to view the video of the No 10 Christmas tree being decorated.

Gareth Johnson MP website



Gareth Johnson MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Tel: 0207 219 7047
email: [email protected]

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